Estate Planning is the process of determining how your wealth and assets should be transferred to the heirs of your choice: your children, grandchildren, friends, families, charitable causes, etc. and then deciding which legal tools and structures to use to best meet your estate planning goals.
Estate planning is not simply reducing or eliminating taxes and avoiding probate. Only after establishing how you want your estate’s assets to be distributed should you consider ways to reduce taxes and avoid probate. From there, good estate plans deal with a host of other issues. Now, with all but a few estates exempt from the federal estate tax, those other issues are, or should be, at the forefront of estate planning.
An estate plan is to ensure that you are taken care of the rest of your life and that your wealth is transferred to the people you want to have it. A good estate plan ensures these goals are accomplished with as much efficiency and as little cost as possible. An estate plan addresses the management and distribution of an individual’s property and financial obligations after he or she dies with financial tools such as wills, revocable living trusts and power of attorney.
For a comprehensive overview of Estate Planning, please start with our article:
There are four basic strategies for reducing estate taxes: Reducing assets from the gross estate Removing future appreciation from the gross estate Increasing deductions, and Buying life insurance Within those four strategies are many options. Not all will be appropriate for you. But there are quite a few strategies – and it’s always good to […]
Why an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) Is Important in Estate Planning An estate plan for IRAs should answer these questions: What will be the estate tax and income tax bills? Who will pay those taxes? Who will receive the IRA? In what form will the IRA be received? The IRA cannot be given away during […]
Sometimes the traditional strategies to reduce estate taxes are not practical or appealing. It might be difficult to give away an asset in increments over the years to make tax-free gifts. Or you might want to retain control of your assets for life. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not want to […]
Which side will win the tug of war?The economic future hinges on the answer to that question. On the one side is the unprecedented cessation of economic activity, but on the other side is the large infusion of fiscal and monetary liquidity. The Federal Reserve and the federal government flooded the markets and economy with […]
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IRA estate planning was revolutionized by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Few discussions so far have focused on the major changes made for situations in which a trust is the IRA beneficiary. There are good reasons to name a trust as an IRA beneficiary. But the SECURE Act changed the […]
The coronavirus pandemic revealed short-comings in many estate plans, especially in trusts. Be sure any trusts in your estate plan will stand up over the long term and meet your goals.News reports indicate more people realize the importance of an up-to-date estate plan. They’re flocking to estate planners. Unfortunately, many of these people will receive […]
The devastating effect the coronavirus outbreak has had on economic conditions inspired me to share with you a 7-step checklist on how to shelter your estate plan from disasters in last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly. Today, I’ll complete that checklist… Step 4: Document your property. To recover all or most of what you […]
It can happen to any of us… It doesn’t have to be a historic outbreak, hurricane, flood, or wildfire. You could be at risk from a broken water pipe, a tree falling on your home, or some other event. Bottom line: You don’t want short-term events to cause a permanent reduction in your financial security. […]